Association Study of the 5-HTTLPR Polymorphism and Depression in 75-Year-Old Nondemented Subjects From the Vienna Transdanube Aging (VITA) Study
J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(9):1373-1378
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: The site of effect for the
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is
the serotonin transporter (5-HTT), which is extensively investigated for its involvement in
depressive symptoms. The 5-HTT gene exhibits a 5'-promoter-based length
polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) that affects the transcription
efficiency and activity, known as short (S) and
long (L) alleles. We studied the association of
this polymorphism in old age and depression in the Vienna Transdanube Aging (VITA) study,
excluding subjects with dementia.
Method: We used retrospective data from
the baseline of the VITA study, which is a cohort study of all inhabitants of a geographical
area aged 75 years (N = 544). Depression was diagnosed and classified strictly according to
the DSM-IV. To eliminate dementia effects, we excluded subjects with a Clinical Dementia
Rating higher than or equal to 1 and/or a
Mini-Mental State Examination score lower than 24.
Genotyping for the 5-HTTLPR L/S allele was
conducted using polymerase chain reaction methodology.
Results: We found significantly higher
SS genotype frequency in all subjects with past/present depression compared to controls
(trend test, p = .01). The SS genotype frequency
was especially high in subjects with onset of
depression before age 65. No correlations were
found between genotypes/S allele carriers and
actual Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Short-Geriatric Depression Scale, and anxiety
Conclusions: These observations of
higher frequency of the 5-HTTLPR S allele in
subjects with past/present depression fit with
previous findings and point to the important role of
5-HTT in depression.